I DON’T KNOW A LOT of things. I don’t know why I didn’t hear the door click shut. Why I didn’t lock the damn door to begin with. Or why it didn’t register that something was wrong-so mercilessly wrong- when I felt the mattress shift under his weight. Why I didn’t scream when I opened my eyes and saw him crawling between my sheets. Or why I didn’t try to fight him when I still stood a chance.
I’m not going to lie. This book is a tough yet powerful read. As you go on Eden’s journey from being raped at a very young age by her brother’s best friend, Kevin, and having to keep it silent, to her trying to find who she is throughout her high school career, you will want to cry for Eden, fight for Eden, and shake the truth out of her.
You’ll see Eden change and open up to one character, Josh, and you think she’ll have a break through. Josh cares for her, really cares for her, and she pushes him away. She wants to tell. But can’t bring herself to tell. Every time she gets close to wanting to say something or give off some sort of idea that something is wrong, she relives that awful night. She thinks no-one will believe her (especially her family who adored Kevin).
Over four years (freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year), she will change from mousy band geek to party girl who sleeps around. Eden does all of this to numb the pain that she is in and keeping this secret to herself. Everyone notices the changes in her, yet no-one calls her out on it. All she wants is for someone to ask her that one question, “Did something happen?” And when that day finally comes, she gets put at a crossroads of keeping this secret to herself for the rest of her life, or finally getting the chance to tell the truth of what happened to her.
The Way I Used to Be is powerful, beautifully written and a very important topic that should never be shunned. Amber Smith does a great job with you wanting to know more. Makes you feel like you know the character and want to fight for the character.
“Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.
What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.
Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year—this provocative debut reveals the deep cuts of trauma. But it also demonstrates one young woman’s strength as she navigates the disappointment and unbearable pains of adolescence, of first love and first heartbreak, of friendships broken and rebuilt, and while learning to embrace power of survival she never knew she had hidden within her heart.” ~Amber Smith, NYT Best Selling Author
If you or someone you know needs help:
Please call your local hotline for sexual assault and violence. Let your voice be heard!
RI: 1.800.494.8100 (24 hour hotline)